By Jim McCarthy Sep 13, 2010 0 comments

Should NASCAR Pursue a Black Audience?

Since I’m always talking about focusing your brand on a core audience, Marni (of @happygomarni and Goldstar’s Facebook page videos) asked me whether I thought it was smart for NASCAR to be trying to expand its audience to include more African-Americans through a partnership with BET.

It’s a great question, and the answer is very clear:  it depends.

-Have they identified an audience, southern blacks, with enough in common with their core audience, southern and rural whites, to be able to tap the 30% of the southern population that’s African-American?

-Or is the “Drive for Diversity” just a way to pre-empt criticism?  Or it is well-intentioned but empty-headed, pointless and perhaps a little patronizing?

-Have figured out  why blacks and whites participate fully in just about every other major spectator sport in the south and beyond, but not NASCAR?

-Have they noticed there are almost no black drivers in NASCAR? (I know they have.  The question was more of a rhetorical device.)

-Have they considered the possibility that diversity doesn’t just come from skin color?  A white bricklayer in Columbia, South Carolina almost certainly has more in common with a black Direct TV installer in Atlanta than he does with a white Patent Attorney in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

-Have they done their homework and figured out what the key drivers of interest in NASCAR are and believe they can build a bridge to blacks in the marketplace or is this just wishful thinking?

If there’s solid marketing work behind this, it is a hard, but worthwhile project that could open up a world of new possibilities to their brand.  If there’s not, this is a costly distraction from the core audience.

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